Students who have a passion for both food and science may find their ideal career in the field of nutrition and dietetics. To work in this field, an undergraduate degree, as well as a professional license or certification, is often required. Far from being the hassle it used to be, today’s path towards a successful and lucrative position in nutrition has been made highly convenient by the development of online bachelor’s degrees in nutrition and dietetics. If you love the science behind food and desire to help people make better food choices and live healthier lives. Graduates of these programs typically pursue professional careers as certified nutritionists or registered dietitians. If you’re busy and trying to juggle life and work, too, we’ve got good news for you! You can earn your degree in nutrition and dietetics without ever stepping foot on-campus. In this ranking, we’ve reviewed the most affordable online nutrition and dietetics undergrad degrees.
In this article, ranking the most affordable Bachelor’s degrees in Nutrition and Dietetics online, we will explore the following types of degrees:
- Online Bachelor of Science in Nutrition
- Online BS in Food and Nutrition
- Online BS in Dietetics
- Online BS in Nutrition Education
- Online Bachelor of Science in Nutritional Sciences
- Online Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition Entrepreneurship
- Net Price Below $7,500: 5 points
- Net Price Below $10,000: 4 points
- Net Price Below $12,500: 3 points
- Net Price Below $15,000: 2 points
20-Year Net ROI
- Above $500,000—4 points
- Above 400,000 – 3 points
- Above 300,000 –2 points
- Above 200,000 – 1 point
Accreditation (School-Wide and Program-Specific) – 1 point per item
Student Support Services for Music Students—1 point each
Wow Factor: awarded for each unique feature or program that “wowed” us – 1 point
Rating and Ranking the Top Affordable Online Bachelor’s in Nutrition & Dietetics Online Programs
To rate the top 8 online bachelor of nutrition and dietetics programs currently available, our editors applied the rating and ranking methodology above. In doing so, we consulted credible sources such as the National Center for Education Statistics, PayScale, and each program’s website. In the case of a tie, the more affordable school received the higher ranking.
#8—Eastern Michigan University
Online BS in Dietetics
Offered through its College of Health and Human Services, Eastern Michigan University’s online bachelor of nutrition and dietetics program is a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics. A minimum of 124 credit hours of coursework is required for the degree, and this includes major requirements such as:
- Food and Culture
- Nutrition Therapy
- Development of the Entrepreneurial Dietician
- Community Nutrition
A supervised practical experience is also required for program completion. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited EMU to confer the bachelor’s in nutrition and dietetics online degree. The program holds separate accreditation from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the university among the leading colleges and universities in the nation for an online bachelor’s degree.
Undergraduate Tuition: $13,758
#7—Kansas State University
Online Bachelor’s in Dietetics
Accredited by the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND), the online bachelor’s in nutrition and dietetics program from Kansas State University requires 120 credit hours of coursework. In addition to general education classes, students enrolled in the program will take major-specific courses such as:
- Careers in Nutrition and Dietetics
- Public Health Nutrition
- Financial Management in Dietetics
- Counseling Strategies in Dietetic Practice
Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the Commission on Dietetic Registration’s credentialing exam. A passing score on this exam is required to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN). Kansas State is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to award the bachelor of dietetics and nutrition online. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the top colleges and universities nationwide for an online bachelor’s degree.
Undergraduate Tuition: $10,440
#6—Huntington University of Health Sciences
Online BS in Nutrition
Huntington University of Health Sciences’ online bachelor’s in nutrition and dietetics is an affordable Bachelor of Science in Nutrition option. Core requirements for the 129-credit hour program include:
- Introduction to Complementary & Alternative Medicine
- Understanding Nutrition
- Health & Wellness
- Medical Terminology
Students enrolled in the program will also take major-specific courses such as:
- Nutrition Counseling Skills
- Vitamins & Minerals
- Nutrition Therapy
- Eating Disorders & Weight Management
A capstone project is also required for successful program completion. Huntington University holds institutional accreditation to award this bachelor of nutrition and dietetics online degree by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission.
Undergraduate Tuition: $6,685
#5—University of Arizona
Online BS in Nutritional Sciences
The online bachelor’s in nutrition and dietetics program from the University of Arizona enables students to specialize in either nutrition or dietetics. Offered through the school’s College of Agriculture & Life Sciences, the program features course titles such as:
- Introduction to Human Nutrition
- Nutrition and the Life Cycle
- Fundamentals of Food Science
- Food Service Organization and Management
An experiential learning component, such as an internship, may also be required. The University of Arizona holds institutional accreditation from The Higher Learning Commission to award the bachelor of nutrition and dietetics online. The program itself holds specialty accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND). U.S. News & World Report has recognized the university as one of the 15 best colleges and universities in the country for an online bachelor’s degree.
Undergraduate Tuition: $12,711
#4—Arizona State University
Online BS in Food and Nutrition Entrepreneurship
The bachelor’s in nutrition and dietetics online program from Arizona State University is a unique BS in Food and Nutrition Entrepreneurship. The 120-credit hour curriculum for the program is comprised of 40 total classes, including required courses such as:
- Eating for Lifelong Health
- Perspectives on the Western Diet: Food, Health and Sustainability
- Retail Food Service Operations
- Nutrition Entrepreneurship
Additional coursework may include titles like:
- Digital Technologies in Nutrition
- Human Nutrition
- Computer Applications in Food Service
- Nutrition in the Life Cycle
Arizona State is institutionally accredited by The Higher Learning Commission to confer the bachelor of nutrition and dietetics online. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school’s online bachelor’s degree programs among the top 10 nationwide.
Undergraduate Tuition: $11,338
#3—The University of Alabama
Online BS in Food and Nutrition
Designed for busy adults, the online bachelor’s in nutrition and dietetics offering from the University of Alabama is a BS program in Food and Nutrition. The 120-credit hour curriculum for the program is comprised of major courses such as:
- Introduction to Dietetics & Nutrition
- Food Science
- Introduction to Research in Food and Nutrition
- Nutrition in the Life Cycle
Students enrolled in the program are also required to take five science courses, including:
- Anatomy and Physiology
- Introduction to Organic Chemistry
Coursework for the program is offered entirely online, but some on-campus practicums may be required. The University of Alabama is institutionally accredited to confer this online bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The program is one of just a few online undergraduate programs accredited by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Undergraduate Tuition: $10,780
#2—University of Northern Colorado
Online BS in Dietetics
The online bachelor of nutrition and dietetics option from the University of Northern Colorado is a degree completion program accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Dietetics and Nutrition. The program can be completed in just 18 months and features course titles such as:
- Nutrition Education and Application Strategies
- Community Nutrition
- Medical Nutrition Intervention
- Food Service Systems Management
Graduates of the program are eligible to apply for dietetic internships and certification as a registered dietitian. The Higher Learning Commission has extended institutional accreditation to the University of Northern Colorado to award the online bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics. The school has been ranked among the 75 best colleges and universities in the nation for an online bachelor’s program by U.S. News & World Report.
Undergraduate Tuition: $9,987
#1—Weber State University
Online BS in Nutrition Education
Weber State University is home to the most affordable online bachelor of nutrition and dietetics program in our ranking. Offered through the school’s Moyes College of Education and the Department of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences, this BS in Nutrition Education option features two distinct areas of emphasis:
- Integrative Nutrition
- Sports Nutrition
Regardless of concentration, all students enrolled in the program will take required core courses such as:
- Multicultural Health & Nutrition
- Food Values, Diet Design, and Health
- Current Issues in Nutrition
- Nutrition in the Life Cycle
The Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities has accredited Weber State to award the bachelor of nutrition and dietetics online credential. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the school among the top colleges and universities in the nation for an online bachelor’s program.
Undergraduate Tuition: $5,986
What is an affordable online Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics?
The foundation of a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics will be science-based coursework that focuses on food and health. Typically, if taken on a full-time basis, you can earn your degree in 4 years. When you graduate, you’ll become a professional in your field. In short, your job will be to translate the science of food/nutrition to help make people’s lives better. Though the terms are typically used together, nutrition and dietetics aren’t mutually exclusive.
Nutrition: the study of food as it relates to science and the human body. You will explore the elements of food, how the body absorbs food, and what happens to the body when there is a lack of nutrients.
Dietetics: more of a professional study with the intent to become a healthcare professional that can assess, treat, and diagnose issues in nutrition.
What concentrations are available for a cheap online Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics?
A low-cost degree in Nutrition and Dietetics is already pretty specific, so we didn’t find many concentration options. However, you could see a more general degree (like a degree in Global Health or General Studies) with a concentration in nutrition and dietetics as an option. You’ll want to make a decision on what path makes more sense for you, your interests, and your career goals.
What minors would best accompany an online affordable degree in Nutrition and Dietetics?
While all options will vary by school, if you decide you want to pursue a minor, you’ll want to choose an option that will help you in your future career. Typically, to add on a minor, you will take about 15 extra credit hours (will depend on the program), which is about 5 additional classes. Some schools will even allow these classes to take the place of electives, enabling you to customize your degree to fit your goals. A few minors that could be helpful in the nutrition/dietetics field are: education, health education, food science, exercise science, community health, or health administration.
What coursework can I expect to take in my low-cost online nutrition and dietetics degree?
All coursework will vary by program and by specific degrees, but at the core, a nutrition and dietetics curriculum will utilize a science-based education and address key subject matters like:
- various sciences: biochemistry, biology
- food service systems management
- cultural aspects of food
- nutritional counseling
Specific coursework reviewed in the programs mentioned in this ranking include:
- Development of Healthy Cuisines
- Eating for Lifelong Health
- Preprofessional Preparation in Nutrition
- Nutrition in the Life Cycle
- Perspectives on the Western Diet: Food, Health, and Sustainability
Affordable Online Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics FAQs:
Q: Should my affordable undergraduate nutrition degree program have special accreditation?
Your online program doesn’t necessarily have to have specific accreditation, but if you want to become a Registered Dietician, you need a degree from an ACEND-accredited school. According to their website, the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) is the accrediting agency for “education programs preparing students for careers as registered dietitian nutritionists or nutrition and dietetics technicians, registered.” Schools on this ranking list with the ACEND accreditation are the University of Northern Colorado, the University of Arizona, Kansas State University, and the University of Alabama.
Q: What is the difference between a Nutritionist and a Dietician?
As you’re looking for a career in Nutrition and Dietetics, you might be wondering if there’s a difference between a nutritionist and a dietician. People seem to use those words interchangeably, but it is important to note the differences between them. Both nutritionists and dieticians are considered health professionals and study how diet can affect overall human health. However, a dietician will typically have more credentials and regulation. A nutritionist is someone who gives general nutrition advice, while a registered dietician can diagnosis eating disorders and treat medical conditions on top of giving nutritional advice.
Q: Will I be a Registered Dietician when I graduate with my cheap online degree in nutrition and dietetics?
No, not necessarily. To become a registered dietician, you’ll need to do a few things first. After graduating with your Bachelor’s degree, you’ll need to complete an ACEND-approved supervised clinical program, pass the CDR registration exam, and take ongoing professional credits to maintain status.
Q: Do I need a Master’s degree to become a Registered Dietician?
Right now, you do not have to hold a Master’s degree to become a registered dietician. However, starting on January 1, 2024, the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR) will require a Master’s degree in any field for registration eligibility. While that’s still a few years away, it might be wise to think about a graduate-level degree in a related nutrition field. For example, the University of Arizona offers an online Professional Science Master’s in Applied Nutrition.
Q: Does a Nutritionist need special certification?
This answer will vary based on your location. Some states require licensure, and some do not.
Q: Is getting an online degree in Nutrition and Dietetics worth it?
Absolutely. According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, employment opportunities in nutrition and dietetics is projected to grow 15 percent from 2016 to 2026. With that kind of growth on the horizon, it’s a great time to enter the industry.
Q: How useful is my affordable online degree in Nutrition and Dietetics?
Food makes the world go round, and it’s something people will always need every day. Therefore, helping people or organizations manage it will always be a necessity. You won’t have to worry about finding a job post-graduation; your opportunities are vast!
Q: Can I take my classes part-time?
Yes, you can! Schools know that online students are usually juggling a lot more than just coursework. In order to balance life, work, family, and school, you might need to take your classes on a part-time basis. Just note that this will lengthen the time it takes for you to earn your degree.
Q: Will I be able to work and go to an online school at the same time?
As an online student, you won’t necessarily have to attend classes on campus, so working could be an option for you! In fact, most online programs are designed with working students in mind. Look for programs that offer classes asynchronously, so you can complete your coursework on your own time. It might be important, however, to find a job that won’t take too much out of you! Work and school could be a lot to balance, so try to find a job that won’t take too much mental energy.
Q: What kind of technology will I need to complete my online degree?
Typically all you’ll need is a computer and access to the internet. Other programs that utilize video conferencing or participation might require camera and microphone access on your computer. But, it’s important to remember that every program is different. To find out exactly what you need, check your school’s website. If you don’t see the information you need, simply call the school and they can direct you to the right department.
Q: How will I pay for my cheap online nutrition and dietetics degree?
Paying for college can be scary, but it’s an investment in your future that will be worth it. But there are still ways to cut down your costs. First of all, the schools we mentioned in this ranking are extremely affordable. You may still need some financial help though, so here are some things to look for:
- schools that offer credit for experience, prior knowledge, or military service
- special scholarships
- state-funded scholarships
- in-state tuition rates for online students
Q: When can I start my online degree in nutrition and dietetics?
This will vary by school. Some schools follow a traditional semester start time (Fall, Winter, Summer), while others have monthly start times for online students. Other programs allow you to start when it’s most convenient for you! Check your program details for information.
Q: Do schools offer student services for online students?
We know it might be scary to take online classes because it might feel like you are alone in your journey. However, many schools make a lot of effort to help you feel involved and supported as you earn your online degree. Schools offer student services like 24/7 tech support, online tutoring, online writing centers, online counseling, online career services, and more. Before you make a decision on a school and a program, look at what they offer–and make sure you will have the support you need to be successful.
Nutrition/Dietetics Career FAQs:
Q: What are some careers I can pursue with my low-cost online degree in Nutrition and Dietetics?
With a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics, you’ll be able to pursue a career in various settings: hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, cafeterias, schools, wellness centers, gyms, and the government. A few career options could include:
- Public Health Nutritionist
- Food Label Specialist
- Nutrition Service Manager
- Health/Food Blogger
- Clinical Nutritionist
- Nutrition Writer
Some jobs related to dietetics might require additional certification:
- Registered Dietician
- Pediatric Dietician
- Renal Dietician
- Oncology Dietician
Q: In short, what do dietitians and nutritionists do on a day-to-day basis?
Dietitians and nutritionists will help improve people’s lives through food. Whether that’s helping people achieve a food or health related goal or guiding people to the right healthy lifestyle, you will be in the business of making people’s lives better.
Q: What kind of salary can I expect with an online physical education degree?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, salaries could be:
- Dietician/Nutritionist: $60,370 per year
- Food Scientist: $64,020 per year
- Writer: $62,170 per year
- Health Educator and Community Health Worker: $46,080 per year
Q: How do I know what career path to take?
Ultimately, the answer to this question will be up to you. While some people are driven by income, others will be driven by passion. Keep in mind that whatever you pursue, you want to love it. You spend a lot of your time at work, so there’s no reason to do something you don’t love. However, always keep in mind that your degree is versatile. If you start working, and you don’t love what you do, just reevaluate. Perhaps you could find another field within nutrition and dietetics that will work for you.
Q: Are there any professional organizations for people in Nutrition/Dietetics related careers?
Yes, there are! Professional organizations are important to get involved with because they can help guide you in your career. You’ll stay up to date on best practices, helpful current information, research, and studies in your given field. You’ll even meet like-minded peers and begin to build a network of colleagues. A few options include the following:
- American Nutrition Association
- American Council on Science and Health
- The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- National Association for Nutrition Professionals
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